FARMERS in Niger Delta region have charged government to demonstrate sincerity in the disbursement of agricultural funds meant for local farmers.
The farmers, who spoke yesterday ahead of today’s World Food Day celebration, decried a situation where such facilities end up in private pockets.
Onyemachi Daniel from Etche Local Council of Rivers State said it was disheartening that funds meant to encourage farmers with the aim of boosting food production were diverted by politicians.
“ As local farmers, we are not seeing anything called money to encourage us improve in our farming production. It is being politicised. The people that collect the money are not farmers, they are politicians and they use it to build mansions and travel abroad,” he submitted.
Daniel, however, called on government to ensure effective monitoring of agric loans and equitable distribution.
Another farmer, Mrs. Evelyn Emiri who also is the Chief Executive of Ego Farms Resources, urged encouragement from government.
She called for more sensitisation to enable youths go into farming as a source of living, stressing that agriculture would advance the economy and eradicate unemployment in the country.
Meanwhile, the Market Development Programme in Niger Delta (MADE), an intervention organisation poised to boost agriculture production in the South South region, has said it is empowering 50,000 farmers in the geopolitical through loans to aid production of better non-oil products that would made them competitive.
Its Team Leader, Dr. Terry Lacey, said the organisation had signed agreement with over seven banks to facilitate the grants, adding that the programme offers a number of opportunities and incentives for promising and potential farmers.
Lacey emphasized the need for all hands to be on desk to ensure that agriculture thrives in Nigeria.
“Currently, the main source of food supply is agriculture. Agriculture is more important than oil. The price of oil has fallen drastically and will never rise or be as important as it was, and what that entails is that everyone should ensure that agriculture thrives,” he said.
Lacey continued: “ The key thing now in Nigeria is that most people are making a living from farming and to see more food and better income, it will not come from another source but through agriculture, so farmers need to be encouraged,” he charged.
He pointed out that for the country to achieve her dream of being in the league of biggest economies in the world by year 2025, the agric sector must be virile and farmers supported to get all requisite equipment.
“For that target to be achieved, the whole chain of agriculture needs to work, people need to move from small farm to bigger farm, from middle size processing to factories. More people need to be encouraged to go into farming,” he counselled.
Source: The Guardian